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Breaking down the B.C. economy’s risky reliance on real estate

By Bethany Lindsay for CBC News

After a decade of soaring real estate prices that have turned ordinary homeowners into paper millionaires and added billions to the provincial GDP, the B.C. economy finds itself in a dangerous position, says an SFU professor.

On its own, real estate accounted for 18 per cent of B.C.’s GDP last year, according to Statistics Canada. Add in building construction, and it’s something like a quarter of the GDP — more significant than the oil and gas industry in Alberta.

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“We have an economy that’s been made dependent on this through a faulty policy framework and this is a bad long-term model,” said Josh Gordon, an assistant professor in the school of public policy at Simon Fraser University,

The province relies so heavily on the real estate industry that a crash would have major impacts on both the economy and the everyday British Columbian, according to academics and former finance ministers who spoke with CBC News.

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